"Take magnesium LeBron!" was shouted by hundreds of thousands of people, who have read my book The Magnesium Miracle or watched my magnesium videos, when LeBron James collapsed with muscle cramping toward the end of Game 1 of the June 7, 2014, NBA Finals.
Let me first summarize an article that made me cringe at the incompetence of sports doctors before I tell you what really happened to LeBron.
"The science of LeBron's cramping" is an ESPN article written June 8, 2014, by Tom Haberstroh. He said LeBron's muscle cramping causes such severe pain and helplessness that it should be called "temporary muscle paralysis." He says you just can't move when it happens, and many athletes are plagued by it. I call it a massive charley horse.
Haberstroh compared LeBron to another player, Justin Hamilton, who had many episodes of muscle cramps that knocked him out of several games in 2013. Haberstroh said that Hamilton guzzled Gatorade and water before, during and after games, because he was told that muscle cramps were caused by dehydration.
When Gatorade didn't work, Hamilton went to one of the nation's top sports science facilities, Sanford School of Medicine, for testing. They measured how much sweat was being drained from his body and how many essential minerals he was losing.
They found that Hamilton was losing salt five times faster than normal, and it seems that they stopped there and didn't look for other deficiencies, which to me was not very scientific. His therapy? A daily intake of six to eight 20-oz. Gatorades with a quarter-teaspoon of salt added to each one. Apparently, his cramps slowly dissipated. However, with all the extra fluids, players complain about sleepless nights, because they are up six or seven times to go to the bathroom.
Players like LeBron and Hamilton can lose two or three liters of liquid every hour, along with 3, 4 or 5 thousand milligrams of sodium.
The article mentions two types of muscle cramps. One is caused by an overworked and fatigued muscle, and the other is caused by electrolyte deficiency. The first is treated with massage, icing and stretching. But the second has no consistent treatment. Most players and coaches just grab the Gatorade, but the specialists at Stanford with their million-dollar studies add more salt to the sugar and salt mixture!
Magnesium is mentioned once in the article in the discussion of "cramping pills." They are mainly just salt tablets, which some doctors say don't have enough sodium and "contain minerals like calcium and magnesium that don't do much to alleviate cramps."
LeBron has clocked the second highest amount of minutes on the court this season, so they say he's at risk for muscle fatigue. At the tender age of 29, the commentators talk about him being one of the most "worn out" players in the NBA! The article also mentions that LeBron was carried off the court one other time because of muscle cramping. It was Game 4 of the 2012 Finals, which suggests that the extra pressure of being in the finals caused him to sweat even more.
LeBron's case reminds me of a former NFL player that I worked with who quit the game because of severe muscle cramps. When he spoke to me, he was still cramping with minor workouts until I told him to take therapeutic levels of magnesium and sea salt.
The so-called science behind sweating and treatment of muscle cramping is dangerously short-sighted. Here are my concerns:
1. Sodium is not the only mineral that is lost when you sweat, but it's a "rule" in medicine to focus on the one major thing that's causing a problem and treat that one thing to the exclusion of anything else.
2. LeBron is only 29 years old, and he's been told that his muscles are suffering from burn out. He will probably be told that he's too old for the game before long.
3. Gatorade has 14 grams (3 tsp) of sugar in an 8-oz. serving. Hamilton was apparently drinking about 8- to 20-oz. Gatorades a day, giving him 60 teaspoons of sugar, which is 10 times the amount recommended by the World Health Organization. That much sugar every day will cause insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes. Also, the body only maintains about 2 tsp of sugar in the blood at any one time. When you have 10 tsp suddenly hitting the blood stream, alarm bells go off and the pancreas is forced to release large amounts of insulin to push the sugar into the cells. Shortly after that happens, you can have a blood sugar crash and feel shaky and sweaty and even panicky.
4. Sports teams don't tell us about the poor health of their "retired" athletes. I've consulted with many athletes who, after years of losing vital minerals, develop a long list of magnesium deficiency diseases like arthritis, high blood pressure, migraines, anxiety and depression, as well as adrenal burn-out and thyroid weakness because of a host of other minerals deficiencies such as iodine, selenium, boron, manganese and potassium.
Here is what the sweat researchers ignore when they think that only water and salt have to be replaced after heavy exercise.
1. Magnesium is absolutely required for normal muscle and nerve function. When you have too little, your muscles cramp and twitch and you become very fatigued.
2. The body requires minerals as cofactors in metabolic processes. The metabolic cycle that makes ATP, the energy fuel of the body, has 10 steps, seven of which require magnesium. To say that muscle fatigue can only be treated by ice, massage and stretching is ridiculous.
3. Our diet used to have 500 mg of magnesium, and now we're lucky to get 200 mg. Farmers do not replace minerals in the soil, and year-by-year they are depleted.
4. Minerals are absorbed into cells and pull water after them. Inside cells, thousands of different enzyme systems function. Without minerals in the cells, they become dehydrated and don't function properly, and you immediately urinate out what you just drank.
5. Without magnesium inside cells, calcium takes over and causes muscle cramping, twitching and spasms.
6. Sudden heart attacks in young athletes are not uncommon and are likely due to magnesium deficiency. The highest amount of magnesium in the body is found in the heart.
Here is an important excerpt from The Magnesium Miracle about athletes and magnesium.
Many studies have shown that magnesium supplementation enhances the performance and endurance of long-distance runners, cross-country skiers, cyclists and swimmers. It also reduces lactic acid buildup and post-exercise cramps and pain.
Since athletes undergo severe physical stress as well as the psychological drive to win, and most ingest suboptimal amounts of magnesium, they are vulnerable to magnesium deficiency. 1
Years ago the coach of a Florida high school football team was concerned about his players' frequent complaints of leg cramps, so he gave them a calcium supplement on a very hot day before a rigorous game. Early in the second half, eleven players became disoriented and had difficulty walking. Their speech was slurred, they complained of muscle spasms, and they were breathing very deeply. Within an hour, eight of the boys collapsed into full-blown seizures; two had repeated seizures. Those having the worst symptoms had been playing the hardest.
Thirteen more players reported headaches, blurred vision, muscle twitching, nausea, and weakness. 2 Eventually all the boys recovered, but what happened to create such a frightening scene in this group of healthy young men? Consider the facts. Those that were affected had all eaten a pre-game magnesium-deficient fast-food meal consisting mainly of carbohydrates and fats, and sodas containing phosphoric acid. With the increased magnesium loss from excessive sweating plus the calcium supplement, their magnesium stores had been driven dangerously low. 3
Magnesium deficiency may also play a role in sudden cardiac death syndrome, which can affect athletes. 4 In a study of young, healthy, well-conditioned men, strenuous effort was reported to give rise to persistent magnesium deficiency and a related long-term increase in cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. This study postulates that the sudden death of athletes and other intensely training individuals during extreme exertion is triggered by the detrimental effects of persistent magnesium deficiency on the cardiovascular system.5, 6
Under Resources on my website and in my Magnesium Miracle book and in my blogs, I talk about picometer magnesium as the most effective type of magnesium that you can use. With it, you can reach a therapeutic level equivalent to IV magnesium without any laxative effect. I also recommend a picometer multiple mineral formula and sea salt. For everyone, I recommend one-quarter tsp of sea salt (not table salt) in every pint of drinking water for the sodium and the 72 trace minerals that it contains.
I also recommend that you drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water. That means LeBron, who is 250 pounds, needs to drink 125 ounces, which is just under one gallon. During a game, he would need another 2 liters per hour to replace the extra sweat that he loses.
When you push your body to extremes like these athletes, you expect consequences, so most coaches and sports doctors just take it for granted that an athlete's body is going to fall apart after years of abuse. But I'm finding that, with picometer magnesium and multiple minerals, a good detox formula and RnA Drops, your body can regain its normal balance and does not have to decline.
1. Seelig MS, "Athletic stress, performance and magnesium in consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications: a review." J Am Coll Nutr, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 429-446, 1994.
2. Blaylock RL, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Health Press, Santa Fe,
4. Seelig MS, "Athletic stress, performance and magnesium in consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications: a review." J Am Coll Nutr, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 429-446, 1994.
5. Singh RB, "Effect of dietary magnesium supplementation in the prevention
of coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death." Magnesium
Trace Elem, vol. 9, pp. 143-151, 1990.
6. Stendig-Lindberg G, "Sudden death of athletes: is it due to long-term
changes in serum magnesium, lipids and blood sugar?" J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 153-164, 1992.
About the author:
About the Author:
Carolyn Dean MD ND is The Doctor of the Future�. She is a medical doctor and naturopathic doctor in the forefront of the natural medicine revolution since 1979.
She is working on several patents on novel products including the iCell in RnA Drops. Dr. Dean is a leading expert in magnesium and she has created a picometer, stabilized-ionic form of magnesium, called ReMag that's 100% absorbed at the cellular level and non-laxative making it one of the only magnesiums that can be taken in therapeutic amounts with no side effects. ReLyte is her multiple mineral product that is also completely absorbed at the cellular level and contains the 9 minerals necessary for supporting proper thyroid function. RnA Drops help make perfect cells via RNA through Chromosome 14 affecting DNA. ReNew, which is highly concentrated RnA Drops is a powerful skin serum and ReAline is a safe detox formula with methylated B's, l-taurine and dl-methionine (the precursor to glutathione), all available at www.RnAReSet.com
Dr. Dean is the author/coauthor of 33 health books (print and eBooks) and 106 Kindle books including The Magnesium Miracle, Death by Modern Medicine, IBS for Dummies, IBS Cookbook for Dummies, The Yeast Connection and Women's Health, Future Health Now Encyclopedia, Death by Modern Medicine, Everything Alzheimers, and Hormone Balance.
She is on the Medical Advisory Board of the non-profit educational site - Nutritional Magnesium Association (www.nutritionalmagnesium.org).
Dr. Dean has a free online newsletter and a valuable online 2-year wellness program called Completement Now! at www.drcarolyndean.com/fhn. She also runs a busy telephone consulting practice and has a weekly radio show Mondays at 4pm PST on www.achieveradio.com. Find out more at www.drcarolyndean.com, www.drcarolyndeanlive.com, www.RnAReSet.com, and www.howionic.com.
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